Tommies tribute to Gainford's First World War dead
By Nicky Carter - Reporter
A COMMUNITY project to commemorate the lives of those who died in the First World War with life-size “Tommies” is well underway.
Gainford’s Fallen Tommies is a project developed as a way of representing all of those who gave their lives during the First World War.
Gainford Parish Charitable Trust is funding the project to create 27 life-sized silhouettes which will be made from corrugated plastic.
Each Tommy will be a visual reminder of the individual serviceman and will have tags inscribed with some of their personal details, such as their name, age at death, regiment, where they were buried, home address and personal details such as “sidesman at St Mary’s Church” or “teacher at Gainford Academy”.
Each Tommy will also have a hand-knitted poppy and will be placed around the parish of Gainford and Langton, close to the home addresses of the fallen servicemen in the week before Remembrance Sunday – the 100th anniversary of the Armistice.
On Remembrance Sunday the Tommies will be brought to the churchyard to stand among those who gather at the war memorial.
Unlike the black perspex figures used elsewhere, the silhouetted Gainford Tommies do not have guns. Project leader Alison Madgwick said: “We want to bring the fallen home and make a link with the past in the parish.
“We wanted to represent the men who left the village and when they left they didn’t have guns.”
Over the past 12 years Gainford residents David and Sandra Pullan have been meticulously researching the lives of each of the servicemen named on the war memorial and their research has been invaluable to the project.
Mr Pullan said: “It was a much bigger parish back then and you found people may have lived in Piercebridge, but went to church here, so they were named on this memorial. We researched each of the men and have visited their Commonwealth graves over the course of those years. Only one of the 26 named on the memorial was actually buried in Gainford graveyard.”